The Twenty-Six Second Man: WWE SummerSlam Recap and Review

I'd take a DripStick 2000 to the face if it meant I could miss 75% of this show

Competition is supposed to lead to a better product, but I’m not so sure WWE has gotten the memo. With AEW debuting their biggest signing Friday night, the ideal situation would have been WWE firing back with their own good wrestling show. And on the surface, they had the means for that. A surprise return in Becky Lynch could have been WWE’s answer to Punk—an unexpected banger between Belair and Lynch. But of course, that’s not exactly what happened. Add in a lackluster show with a sprinkle of good matches, most of which occurred between 11 PM and midnight, a time that I generally prefer to be asleep, and you get a disappointing party of the summer.

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Big E def. Baron Corbin (Kickoff)

Baron Corbin hasn’t hocked the briefcase for an easy hundred yet, so I just can’t buy that he’s actually poor. Big E taught Mr. Mustard Stain a lesson here, much to Pat’s delight on commentary. E missed a splash on the apron, letting Corbin make a brief comeback with a side slam for a two count. Given that Baron only owns the single white shirt, it’s incredible the man can still hit Deep Six without losing some buttons. Corbin tried to run off with the briefcase, but E caught him with a spear. The Big Ending made Corbin’s life even worse, as he both lost the match and got laughed at by Logan Paul. Two terrible fates.

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Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro def. AJ Styles and Omos (c)

Having turned a corner on Randy over the past year, it’s a huge bummer to see that he’s still stuck with Riddle here. Virtually anyone can play the “odd man” role against Orton, and most people over the age of six can get around on a Razr scooter. I’m just not seeing what he brings to the table. The tag match was fine; Omos started out dominating both Riddle and Orton, but Styles tagged in to bear the brunt of the heat. Riddle tried to attack Omos on the outside and got choke-slammed on the apron instead, just as Randy landed an RKO in the ring to get the win. A tough night for the Omosapiens.

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Alexa Bliss def. Eva Marie

It was all dollhouse fun and games for Bliss and Marie here; Eva tried to avoid any wrestling content early on, but Bliss wasn’t having that. Marie grabbed Lily and gave her a slap just to prove she wasn’t afraid of children’s toys, which only served to make Alexa snap. She earned a two count off a crossbody, then went up top for Twisted Bliss, but Eva rolled out of the way for her own near fall. Alexa hit a sudden DDT and scored the win to a very short match. Doudrop seemed pleased by the result, announcing Eva as the loser of the match before flouncing off. This was okay, I guess. It didn’t outstay its welcome, which is all I can ask for from an Eva Marie match.

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United States Championship: Damien Priest def. Sheamus (c)

Priest coordinated his hair and his gear tonight, which automatically earns him a point in my book. Sheamus tried to keep him on the mat right away, but Priest came back to land a suplex. Sheamus knocked him into the ring post on the outside, then questioned Vegas if they were being properly entertained. He bent Priest over his knee and flexed those pasty muscles for the crowd, before locking him in a submission. Sheamus hit 5-6 Beats of the Bodhran, but Priest got a second wind with a pair of clotheslines. Sheamus came back with an Alabama slam for a very close count, only to find himself on the receiving end of South of Heaven for a near fall on Priest’s end. Sheamus locked in a leg lock, but a wild eyed Priest went for the face mask to free Sheamus’ nose to the Public. Terrified at the concept of breathing unprotected in an arena full of people, Sheamus suffered a knee to the face and Hit the Lights, keeping him down for the three count. Priest scored his first main roster title, which means some Vegas hot tub is getting a whole lot of leather tonight. This was solid enough, with a nice result for everyone’s favorite invisible archer.

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SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) def. The Mysterios

The Mysterios were rocking some fantastic pink lemonade gear that I’m definitely going to cop for my next club visit. Rey and Jimmy started off, but Uso managed to avoid a 619 attempt by rolling out of the ring. Dom tagged in to go for the Three Amigos to honor his real dad, but got dropped by Jey, who made the blind tag. He ground Dominik down on the mat, following it up with a double team right in front of his dad. Heartbreaking stuff. A huge uppercut dropped Dom and kept the Uso’s in control, until the #1 son finally got the hot tag and Rey ran wild. He got caught with a superkick and a splash and still kicked out at 2.5. Mysterio managed a 619, but Uso got his knees up for the subsequent splash. The second superkick/splash combo sealed the deal, and the Usos retained. Fun stuff here—the Usos are truly the top of WWE’s tag teams, and the Mysterios can swing with just about anyone.

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SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch def. Bianca Belair (c)

After Bianca came out, Greg Hamilton announced that Sasha wasn’t able to compete tonight, and instead sent Carmella in her place. Before I could take my vodka shots of sorrow, out came Becky Lynch to save the day for Vegas. The Man eliminated Carmella from the equation, sending her into the steel steps before laying down the challenge to Bianca. The crowd gave them a huge ovation, which was well deserved, before Becky hit a single Rock Bottom and…. Got the win? Off a slam? On Bianca Belair???

This sucked, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t understand how WWE manages to muck up things that are just so easy; Lynch’s return was huge, and having her go one on one with Belair would have been a sight to see. But a thirty second squash? Nobody benefits from this, not even the new champ.

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Drew McIntyre def. Jinder Mahal

Jinder and Drew were given the unenviable task of following the biggest bummer of the night, but at least this one included a sword. I gotta take the wins where I can. Veer and Shanky were barred from ringside, so they unfortunately missed Jinder narrowly avoiding a Claymore about thirty seconds in. Instead, McIntyre delivered a suplex on the outside, but the Maharaja turned it around with a kick to the face. Mahal was in control until Drew got the Glasgow Kiss. He tossed Jinder around before finally ending things with a Claymore. This accomplished what it needed to, and let’s leave it at that.

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Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair def. Nikki A.S.H (c) and Rhea Ripley (Triple Threat Match)

The entrances here took at least 10x longer then Becky and Sasha’s match, but let’s not dwell on that too much. This was better than I expected, given the repetitive build and the fact that we’ve seen all three women fight at least four times this month. Charlotte looked strong early on, dropping Rhea in the corner, only to get hit with a crossbody from a flying superhero. The Queen slammed Nikki on top of Rhea then went for a moonsault, but Ripley got her feet up. Everybody tried for finishers but couldn’t make it happen, until Flair got a big boot. Rhea delivered a suplex to both women with strength that I only dream of when I lift my silly little five pound weights. Nikki pulled out her own big spot with a double crossbody, and still nobody could capitalize. Charlotte countered a double team into a DDT to both women, then honored her Amtrak fanatic father with some chops. Rhea got Nikki in a cloverleaf, but Charlotte broke it up with her foot yet again. Nikki came off the turnbuckle to break up the Figure Eight, and almost had the whole thing won before Ripley broke the pin. A DDT eliminated Rhea from the story as Charlotte got Nikki in the Figure Eight and forced a tap.

Again, better than it probably should have been. Charlotte’s 15th or 13th title run isn’t a shocker, and it is a shame Nikki wasn’t given more time as champ.

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Edge def. Seth Rollins

Seth was cosplaying as a sexy marching band player. Edge was cosplaying as his hero, Gangrel. We got the full Brood entrance, and as someone who didn’t watch wrestling in the 90s because I was three years old, it absolutely rocked. Seth tried to go for the neck right away—he’s heard Edge might have had an injury or something- but Edge bounced him around the barricade for his efforts. Rollins chucked the head right into the steps, then continued with every neck based move he could think of. Seth laughed his beautiful Wario laugh, but Edge and the three remaining ligaments in his neck still hung in here. He got a neck breaker off the turnbuckle and a two count off the Edgecution, then barely kicked out of a superplex from Rollins. Edge avoided the stomp and shouted out his wife with a beautiful Glam Slam, but it still wasn’t enough. In 2008, that would have done it for sure. Both guys traded big moves to huge crowd reaction; a particularly cool moment was Seth going for a corkscrew, only for Edge to roll out of the way and deliver a spear. Edge crushed Seth’s head like a grape, bounced him off the mat, and then got him in a sleeper for a tap out.

This rocked big time. If Edge isn’t a champion by next WrestleMania, something will be very wrong.

The Dripstick Gets an Upgrade

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We got a moist segment with Johnny Drip Drip and the Miz, who asserted Vegas was the driest town they’d been to. Unfortunately, they had misplaced their water guns and couldn’t squirt the crowd. Xavier Woods arrived with the Dripstick 2000 and an extremely sexy toothpick to give those boys a good spray down. Watching two grown men sell a water gun is genuinely funny, but this segment was three minutes longer than Becky and Bianca’s match, so I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it like I should.

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WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) def. Goldberg

Lashley was big time over in Vegas, which meant 50,000 people booed a teenager. Match wise, this was exactly what you would expect. Goldberg hit some slams and tossed Lashley around like he didn’t have the biggest muscles I’ve ever seen. MVP tried to pulled Bob to safety, but Goldberg still speared him on the outside. The manager extraordinaire took his cane to Bill’s knee, and Lashley went for the Hurt Lock. Goldberg fought out to find himself chucked into the ring post to the dulcet sounds of a cheering crowd. With Goldberg unable to get up, the ref called the match for Lashley, who was outraged at not being able to literally murder a man on TV. He took a chair to Goldberg to show the man what he thinks of WCW, until Gage ran in to try and save what was left of his dad. Lashley put a child in the Hurt Lock, which MVP defended as Lashley not knowing the kid he just choked out was Goldberg’s son, which sent me big time. I gotta give it to Gage, who sold better than a handful of main roster guys and has made it through multiple live TV segments without saying anything extremely embarrassing, which would have been my top worry at 15. Heels beating up large sons of legends is the new “insulting your hometown.”

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Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) def. John Cena

Pat McAfee promised us that “documentaries will be made about tonight,” which seems highly probable given what Twitter had to say about Allegiant Stadium. As expected, this was excellent, and made even better by how markedly different it was from everything else on the card. Reigns has truly reached another level; everything he does is heated, every step serves the Tribal Chief. He ragdolled Cena on the early goings, sending him from corner to corner and into the steps, but John kept kicking out. Cena tried for a roll up to a posturing Reigns, but Roman wouldn’t be caught. A sleeper brought Cena to his knees, but the strength training of filming three cinematic masterpieces at the same time gave him the power to get back up. Cena got second life with some shoulder tackles, but Roman countered the Five Knuckle Shuffle into the Guillotine. A second attempt sent Roman into the AA for a very close count, followed up with the STF, until Reigns grabbed the rope. John hit another AA through the commentary table, and again Roman made it out. Cena even avoided a spear to land a third AA off the second rope, but the result remained the same. A big spear finally ended things for Big Match John, but the night wasn’t over yet. Out came Brock Lesnar—with hair! The man had a full ponytail! Paul Heyman cried, Roman glowered, and Brock had a good laugh. I’m still stuck on the undercut and high pony combo.

5

Big Match John is doing some heavy lifting here.

PROS
  • It’s insane how good Edge is in his 40s and after a decade away. Just incredible.
  • I know Charlotte isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but she really does turn it out on the big stage.
  • Cena and Reigns was just plain good wrestling from two of the best.
  • I almost wish we lived in the world where kids just jumped Bobby Lashley in defense of his opponents. It would make Raw much more interesting.
CONS
  • I completely forgot about Jinder and Drew in 3MB until somebody I saw somebody else posted about it. Not sure if that’s good or bad.
  • Especially on a show that’s already running long, how do you let a Goldberg match surpass three minutes?
  • Omos losing makes me sad. Omos losing to Matt Riddle makes me extremely sad.
  • Bianca and Becky should have been an instant classic. It’s kind of insane how bad WWE can be, even when they have all the odds in their favor.
  • What are they doing with Alexa and Lily? Is there a plan here or are they just fumbling for "spooky stuff" until she regenerates or something?
  • This show went past midnight. I have a job, guys.
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